Engineering New Zealand is supporting the New Zealand Claims Resolution Service (NZCRS), which supports homeowners across New Zealand to resolve residential insurance claims resulting from natural disasters.
Background to NZCRS
In February 2023, the New Zealand Claims Resolution Service replaced the Greater Christchurch Claims Resolution Service (GCCRS) and the Residential Advisory Service (RAS) to extend its services to support homeowners in the resolution of residential insurance claims resulting from all natural disasters, anywhere in New Zealand.
The NZCRS is available to homeowners with a Toka Tū Ake EQC or private insurance claim against a residential property that has been damaged by a natural disaster event. They can help a homeowner at any stage of a claim to provide advice and support. This includes providing advice on the initial stages of the insurance claims process.
How we support NZCRS
Differences in engineering opinion may hold up the resolution of insurance claims. Engineering New Zealand wants to make sure that the right engineering input is provided at the right time. We’re doing this by:
- Administering an independent expert engineering panel to provide support to homeowners in resolving insurance claims resulting from all natural disasters occurring anywhere in New Zealand.
- Providing better information for the public and engineers about an engineer's role and how to engage an engineer.
We’re also working with the engineering profession to uncover and understand the issues that engineers are grappling with, so that we can help with education and information.
How can engineers have differing opinions?
After a natural disaster, engineers carry out assessments that give their professional opinion on damage and how to reinstate that damage. The reinstatement needs to meet the standard required by the homeowner’s insurance policy as well as relevant regulatory requirements.
Both parties use the engineer’s assessment to work out how to settle the claim. The engineer isn’t a decision maker in this process.
Carrying out this type of engineering assessment isn’t straightforward. It involves looking at the property after the disaster and determining what has changed. The engineer takes into account any information available about the property before the disaster (including from the homeowner), what they see, and what they know about how the disaster affected that area (for example, in an earthquake, what the ground shaking was like).
Damage assessment and reinstatement recommendations require significant professional judgement. Differences in opinion often happen when engineers are given different briefs or scopes of work by homeowners and insurer. They can also happen when engineers make different assumptions about the property and how the disaster affected the area.